Creative connections that transform

2015-16 Microwave slate

Treading Water

About the film

Treading Water is about fifteen-year-old Luke Fane – a beautifully brilliant and blistering boy with schizophrenia. But the object of Luke’s affections isn’t a classmate, his neighbour or even BFF – it’s his sister’s boyfriend Vernon.  And whilst the route to Vernon’s heart is as rough as the surrounding Raffles Estate, it’s a pilgrimage worth losing everything for – even Luke’s grip on reality. Because he’ll stop taking his medication, spiders will start talking and Lulu will be ringing the landline, as the sea sneaks slowly up to motorway to drown the community whole.


Treading Water is a love story about the emotional violence of being young and in love, in a fractured world where first kisses linger as long as Glasgow kisses.

From the director

"While love can be confusing for anyone, it's even harder for a fifteen year old who has a hard time separating what's real from what isn't. At the beginning, Luke's hallucinations aren't a 'dark secret' for his loving family, but instead they put him at the centre of a unique and wonderful world... so why wouldn't he stop his meds? Yet as his relationship with Vernon progresses and the emotional violence becomes prevalent, the film takes a thrilling turn.

I want the film to have a distinctive cinematic feel, with wide shots and slow tracks for the emotions to come mainly from the performances. As the line between reality and fantasy collapses for Luke, I will rely on simple editing techniques, in-camera effects and sound design to immerse the audience in his journey, as we experience with him the confusion of first love."

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Meet the team


Samuel de CeccattyDirector Samuel de Ceccatty

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Samuel de Ceccatty came from a background in graphic design before turning decidedly towards directing. His work explores the themes of isolation and imagination in a style that turns everyday life into epic adventures. Manon and Samuel set up their production company in 2011, after their first music video together was screened at Rushes Soho Shorts. Samuel's work has since screened at international festivals such as the London SFF, Seattle IFF or Euroshorts, and won several competitions for established institutions, notably the BFI, the National Theatre, and most recently the BBC's Writers Room. Samuel's latest short film Safiyah Flies Across the Ocean won funding from Ideastap and the Northern Film School, and is currently being managed by Festival Formula for its festival release.


Lee MattinsonWriter Lee Mattinson


Lee graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in Fine Art and is co-artistic director of Chicken Pox Fox. He has written for theatre, radio and story-lined for the cobbles of 'Coronation Street.'  His work has been performed at Royal Exchange Theatre, Soho Theatre, Bush Theatre and Paines Plough pop-up Roundabout venue. His most recent play 'Crocodiles' won the inaugural Hodgkiss Award and he is currently under commission from Northern Stage, Pilot Theatre, Encounter, Creative England and BBC Radio 3.


Manon Ardisson Producer Manon Ardisson


After working in production on high-end TV dramas, Manon joined Shoebox Films as creative assistant, and also assisted producer Paul Webster on Warner's Bros Pan. Manon has produced over a dozen short-format videos, which were selected for festivals internationally, and won numerous competitions for the likes of the ENO, BFI and the National Theatre. Manon's first feature 'God's Own Country' was developed through iFeatures and is currently being financed.  


Chiara Ventura Producer Chiara Ventura


Manon will be producing Treading Water with NFTS graduate Chiara Ventura. Chiara worked as production coordinator on features (including BFI-backed Couple In A Hole), before joining sales and distribution company The Works. Chiara produced a number of short films, most recently London Calling's Satan Has a Bushy Tail, which went on to win several awards on the international festival circuit. Chiara is currently in pre-production on animation short Paraffin, commissioned by Creative England as part of iShorts2.




Watch the trailer for Safiyah Flies Across the Ocean

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